Tips For Planning A Multi-Day Hillwalking Adventure
If you are already confident in tackling single day hill or mountain walks, you might be tempted to try a more challenging multi-day adventure. This can really test and improve your outdoor skills, bringing a wonderful sense of achievement and the feeling of being truly immersed in nature.
A successful longer trek does require some careful planning and preparation, as you will need to be self-contained and ready for all weather conditions. It’s a good idea to try one or two nights to begin with, and work up to longer journeys as you gain confidence and experience.
It’s also advisable to plan your adventure with a companion or group to start with. This ensures that you will have support should you get into difficulties, and the company can also enhance your enjoyment of the trek. Here are some essential tips to help you plan a safe and memorable adventure.
Decide where you want to go
The most obvious step is to identify a suitable location and route for your walk. In Scotland, there are several national trails such as the Great Glen Way (from Glencoe to Inverness), the Loch Lomond and Cowal Way, the Great Trossachs Path, and the West Highland Way. These are all established backpacking routes, so it’s very easy to find online guides.
This will help you to research terrain, distance, refreshment or sightseeing points, overnight stops, and so on. Think about your general level of fitness and what type of terrain you want to tackle: mountainous scrambles, or lower level routes with clear pathways? Decide what distances you are comfortable with covering each day.
When planning your distances, think beyond just miles or kilometres. You should also take into account the steepness of ascents and descents, and whether the paths are clearly defined or rugged and boggy.
More mountainous routes may take longer to navigate than low land paths. Also factor in stoppage time for exploring any beauty and wildlife spots, eating lunch, and so on. You want to avoid the feeling of being on a route march, so plan in some wiggle room for each day.
Research your overnight options
You may want to bivvy under the stars, wild camp, or stay in a youth hostel or B&B. This will depend on the remoteness of your location, and/or personal preference. In Scotland, it is legal to wild camp under the Access Code. However, you should avoid camping in enclosed fields of crops or where farm animals are grazing.
Plan your kit
You will need to be self-sufficient in terms of food, water, clothing, and safety and navigational equipment. If you are not used to carrying a heavier backpack, it is beneficial to get some practice during shorter walks during the build up to your trek.
What you take with you is a balance between not overloading yourself with unnecessary weight, whilst also having the essentials. There’s lots of online advice about choosing sleeping mats, high energy foods, and so on, so do plenty of research and draw up a kit list a few weeks in advance.
This will give you enough time to decide exactly what you do and don’t need, and how manageable the weight of your backpack will be.